Saturday, May 14, 2022

Vote Often 3

Another interesting seat near me is the Liberal Party (conservative) blue ribbon and normally safe Goldstein. The sitting member has a strong independent 'teal' candidate against him. With Labor red, Liberal blue, Greens...well green, teal seems to be a combination of conservative Liberal Party economics, with a strong focus on the environment, climate change and progressive social issues. 

That the teal independents are a threat to moderate conservative Liberal Party members tells the story of how the Liberal Party has not kept up with society's socially progressive attitudes and concern for the future of out planet. I hope the teals do well, with moderates in the Liberal Party removed and the party will go further into an unelectable position full of ultra conservatives religious nutters with no social care values, no care for the environment, anti worker, no care for the less fortunate in society, pro privatised medicine and big business profit over everything. 

I was initially concerned about the removal of moderates but now I can see some sense in what might happen.

One possible victim could be the Member for Goldstein, the openly gay Tim Wilson who is being challenged by former ABC journalist independent candidate Zoe Daniels. Daniels reporting at times from trouble spots around the world was a terrific and she was a passionate reporter and I think hers may have been the last paper book I bought and it was a good read. I recommend Storyteller

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday Funnies

I hope I haven't used these before. My filing system is normally quite efficient.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Train Fares in Ole Blighty

We watched a nice YouTube video of the Night Riviera from Paddington, London to Penzance in Cornwall. The price seemed quite reasonable and the sleeper train trip sounded great, in spite of an 23.45 Paddington departure. You can board the train a good bit earlier and go to sleep if you want.

If you are in sleeper, you get breakfast delivered to your room but it did not look terrific to me. You arrive in Penzance at 8.00. 

A 9.00 departure would be convenient and takes the same time as driving. Go to Paddington Station and buy your ticket, £156 for a five hour train trip, AU$275.

Sydney to Melbourne in admittedly a slower train making an 11 hour trip, Economy AU$89, £51 and First $132, £76. I can buy a ticket now to travel tomorrow to Sydney by train for that price.

While Victoria's play with privatisation of trains was generally a failure with the companies pulling out after losing so much money, it seemed it has succeeded in England but only by charging usurious prices. 

For planned travel in England, you can get much better fares in advance than the last minute fares. There are real bargains to be had and there are websites than break your trip into pieces and make regional train travel cheaper again (what an absurdity). But what if your mother lives in Penzance and you are in London and she has a heart attack? You need to get there fast and London car ownership is much lower than here. The average London weekly wage, averaged between men and women is about £52, so you are looking at three weeks wages to walk up to Paddington Station to get to Penzance by train. I can only shake my head. How did this absurd situation arise and the voters of England stand for it?

This is a laugh. If a regional train is delayed because of a train track fault, one government department will fine another government department for the delay. It is a silly transfer of taxpayer money from one government department to another. 

Meanwhile across the northern border, ScotRail is back under government management after Dutch company Abellio that ran Scottish rail lines for seven years did not perform well. 

While most long distance trains in Australia are not popular choices, at least they don't cost a bomb to use. I've never ceased to be amazed by the cost of public transport in England, be it city or regional. 

Do the multiple English train operators have compassionate fares as airlines do? Here is a snip from something I read when looking up details for this post. Mr Burnham was criticised for only mentioning last minute train fares.

Andy Burnham’s recent Twitter fury about the cost of rail fares between London and Manchester – £369 for a last-minute return, which, as the mayor of Manchester pointed out, might buy you a return flight to Brazil – highlighted an exorbitant system so riven with fare rules as to make it unusable beyond the narrowest of circumstances.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


I walked along Southbank and bought some god awful coffee. I had a sip and it later went in the rubbish bin. I should have known better than to buy from a chain shop. However, I did sit to drink my coffee as this busker began his performance. A mocking heckle from a young chap who was walking with two mates had the busker ask if he was gay and the busker proclaimed he himself was gay and went on to remark the commenter was vaguely attractive and would be ok for five minutes. I forget how he phrased it now and it was quite subtle, but it drew laughs.

While the busker wasn't particularly young, my goodness, was he rubbery. My mind wandered to... well you guess. By the time I left, he had drawn quite a crowd.

Can you tuck your ankle behind your head?

Later edit: The performer is Samora Squid.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Path to Platform. Transport Tuesday

"Train in three minutes! Can we make it?"

Because of my age I am probably a bit on the slow side of the average walking speed of 4 km/h but not really slow.

I decided to check the walking times from the footpath outside our city stations to the closest suburban train platform.

Our train City Loop for has five stations, two above ground and three below ground.

I needed some rules for consistency. So, begin ten metres from the main station entrance, take the shortest path using escalators, don't walk down the escalators, stop the timer as I step onto the platform and the platform needs to be the closest one to the entrance. To note, I think the escalators still operate at faster speeds in peak times.

My conclusion is commerce affects the walking time at only one station. 

Flinders Street is our largest, busiest and most admired suburban train station and the original station was built in 1854 although the station as we know it now dates to 1909. There is a large concourse and a medium length escalator to the platforms. 1:18 to Platform 3. 

Next was Flagstaff, underground and completed in 1985. I should think it is our quietest city station and is looking shabby and dated. Two sets of short escalators. 1:55 to Platform 1.

The original suburban and regional station Spencer Street was completed in 1959 and completely rebuilt to Southern Cross Station in 2006. While there is plenty of commerce there, I don't believe it delays your access to platforms. With a decent sized concourse, for suburban trains you need to go up two short escalators and then down a longer one to the platform. Sensibly the regional and interstate trains that will have passengers with luggage are at ground level. 2:58 to Platform 9.

Parliament Station opened in 1983 and must be quite deep underground. While there are rather inconveniently located lifts, most passengers access the station via two short flights of stairs and a very long escalator down to Platforms 1 and 2 and another shorter escalator to Platforms 3 and 4. I think the escalator was the longest in Australia until the new one at Sydney's Central was built. After so many escalator falls, there are annoying warning announcements that go on for ever and a nice to the point photo at the top of the long escalator saying something like, 'You are about to descend Mount Everest. Your only safety equipment is you.' What? You have to take responsibility for your own safety? Quelle horreur. That won't do at all. Mainly because of the long escalator travel time this was longer than I expected. 3:02 to Platform 1.

Anyone who uses our City Loop knows what the last one will be, yep Melbourne Central. Melbourne Central opened as Museum Station, being opposite what was then our museum. You had to pass shops off the street to get to the station platforms. It it is an edifice to capitalism but not to public transport users. You walk past shops, some more shops and then down an escalator and then down another escalator. Museum Station opened in 1989 with Melbourne Central Shopping Centre opening in 1991. In 2003 the station was 'integrated' into the shopping centre and renamed Melbourne Central. The one direct escalator changed to two with a walk past commerce as train passengers were forced past even more shops. 

People who are not focused on catching a train clog up the walkways and escalators and this was on quiet Monday. The walking time wasn't quite as bad as I expected. 3:16 to Platform 1.

Things you take for granted when you are young become harder when you are older and that includes walking distances and stairs. I am fine on escalators but lifts really are necessary for wheelchair users and the very frail and feeble.

Well, this is an informative post but you don't really have a choice about the city station you will use and use the one closest one to travel to near where you need to be. 

Just to lighten the post as I was exiting Melbourne Central at precisely one o'clock to have coffee outdoors at the State Library, this ever so kitsch clock was doing its thing. There can be small to large crowds who gather to watch it.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Monday Mother's Day

Mother was determined to go out for a Mother's Day lunch. After trying six places that were booked out, she finally found Club Officer could take a booking for five at 11.30 but we had to finish dining by 1.00.

It was a $70 set price menu and Mother paid for her poorest son, Tradie Brother and offered to pay for us but we declined. She didn't arrive until 12.00 leaving one hour for a three course meal. Mother's three sons were there with her honorary son R. Sister has a cold and it is five hours of return driving for her to attend.

The entre was excellent. Mother had the roasted cauliflower, a couple had the pork belly and two of us had the prawns and chorizo. 

I probably made a poor main choice of risotto. R liked his. I fancied the Mediterranean chicken really but half a chook for lunch seemed a lot. 

We all had the pear dessert and it was nothing wonderful although very nicely presented. For $70 it wasn't good value.

Our main did not come out until 1, the time we were supposed to leave. It was no problem and we left about 2. The staff were all very good.

After Tradie Brother's death of his much loved dog Cobber, from a friend of a friend who is moving overseas, he has acquired a new dog. She is eighteen months old, white and some kind of medium to large terrier breed. She seems to be a great dog but as yet she is unnamed and in a way a name is pointless as she is profoundly deaf and was from birth. She can't even hear a loud hand clap right at her ears.

To make up for her lack of hearing, she is incredibly alert with her head constantly moving as she keeps a keen eye on her surrounds. I concluded she is of a hunting dog origin. She doesn't pay a lot of attention to humans but she does welcome affection. This could all be about the shock of her change of circumstances. Tradie Brother is very good at making well behaved, loving and faithful dogs. 

We bought Mother a potted pink Chrissy and a pair of lambs wool lined sock/boots with a non slip sole. ($5 cheaper at the local post office than Big W).

We are weary tonight. Anything to do with Mother makes us weary.  

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Sunday Selections

Check out Eleephant's Child's and River's Sunday Selections.

As usual mine are random photos not published.

I don't know why I recently looked at this photo taken at Conwy in Wales. We were not far from John Gray of Wales, but I did not know that at the time. How nice it would have been to meet him.

On me lonesome I caught a train to Sandringham for brunch, a little spoilt by posh women with loud voices in the cafe.

In Port Melbourne outside the supermarket you can lock your pet in

Daytime chrissies (such a convenient abbreviation if you don't want to attempt the full spelling).

Night time chrissies.

Should be for toilet paper and paper towel at the German supermarket. It is eitherl about 'supply chain issues' or the inability to get staff for stacking. We are getting a bit sick of Aldi not having stock.

A little research tells me it is a Rolls Royce, spotted when we were coming home from Prahran. A later sighting tells me it lives in a side street just down the road.

I am not sure about the intrusions into our river, first Arbory Afloat and the newest Yarra Botanica. 

Prahran Market tram stop.

While we waited for the tram, we sat either side of the banana. 

A morning visitor. No damage, so most welcome.

I booked our holiday to Ecuador before seeing this list so stop thinking such horrible things about me.